When I can see on my caller ID that one of the kids is calling me shortly after they've left the house, my heart races. When it is a 'nothing' phone call instead of the dreaded 'I just got in a car accident', I exhale loudly in total relief.
The kids make fun of me, citing my nerves as over-the-top, ridiculous, another sign that I'm losing it.
At 5:15 on Wednesday (Aug 26th), Mini called me. She was on her way home from tennis practice at the high school with her BFF. BFF has her license, as does Mini. But BFF is the oldest, so she doesn't arm wrestle anyone for the rights to the teen car. BFF has turned into Mini's chauffeur.
Mini: Mommy, we were in an accident. (sobbing) BFF rear-ended someone. No one's hurt. Come get me. I am in front of Culvers. It just happened. It's all my fault!
My gut lurched. I stopped dead in my tracks when I heard: ALL MY FAULT. Shit, what was she doing? Mini is the comic of her friends. Was she clowning around?
Me: What were you DOING?
Mini: Nothing. (sobbing) I just mean, (gasp) if she didn't always have to drive me home . . . she was driving me home as usual. If she wasn't driving me home, she wouldn't have hit this other car. (sobbing)
Me: OK, I know Mini. It isn't your fault though. Thank God everyone's OK. I'll be right there. Have you called the police?
Coach was closer to the accident than I was. He was at the pool with Curly for a quick swim before dinner. I called him and he agreed to meet me there.
The banged up car was in the middle of the street. More gut lurching. It was more than a fender bender. Yikes. Car totaled.
BFF was talking to the policeman. He wanted to talk to the other passengers. The other girls (3 others including Mini) were hiding behind the restaurant. They didn't want the policeman to know that there were 3 passengers in the car, because in the state of Illinois a driver BFF's age is only allowed ONE passenger.
I texted Mini and ordered her to come out of hiding. While she was talking to the cop, Coach and I approached BFF. Her mom, our very good friend, was talking to the other parents. I got all choked up when BFF grabbed hold of Coach when he hugged her, like she was never going to let go. When I hugged her, she whispered to me: "I'm so afraid of my mom."
The woman, whose car BFF hit when she didn't notice her stopped to pull into the restaurant, told the policeman that there were 3 passengers in the car, so their attempt at hiding was blown. He spoke to all of the girls.
The woman they hit also told the police that she raised 4 kids. She wasn't interested in having him write BFF a ticket. So forgiving. BFF didn't get a ticket for having too many girls in the car either. The officer asked BFF'S mom if she wanted him to do that to teach her a lesson. Our friend was like, no. Lesson learned.
Ironically when the accident took place, Mini was not speaking to me. I grounded her for better part of the week. She went away for the weekend of the 21st to a friend's lake house. I told her MANY TIMES before she left: do X, Y, AND Z. When her ride arrived, she rushed to the door and when I asked, she assured me: X,Y, AND Z DONE!
Not. So. Much.
** (Oct 29th edit: one of 'my' babies is napping in Mini's room right now - if he was awake and I snuck in there to take a photo of the state of this room YOU WOULD ALL BE APPALLED. **
I vacuumed the entire upstairs that weekend while she was gone. I moved things, in all the bedrooms. Picture a bulldozer. Mini is not the only one with a problem, but her ability to dump it in her closet floor and act like "Well, that's done" - kills me.
She was ticked that I grounded her. All her friends were gathering to e-learn together at someone's house. She claimed that the boys don't deal with similar aftermath. I have stood in Tank's room and demanded he handle his mess before going out with friends. The difference is she LEFT FOR THE WEEKEND AND LIED THAT SHE HAD DONE HER STUFF.
Well, no one hates being accused of a double standard more than me, because that was how I was raised. I felt icky all week, regardless of whether or not she deserved her week-long punishment. Mini is usually chatty with me. The week sucked, but I stuck to my guns. I DID agree to release her a bit early.
Then the accident happened. It was a tearful evening. Mini was so worried that BFF would be in trouble. Mini was hit by the air bag and a little sore from where the seat-belt hit her, but it could've been worse.
BFF is driving again, but not allowed to drive any friends. Makes total sense, but there aren't enough cars in our house to go around.
Guess what is fun with e-learning: getting a kid to sports practice at 3:00 when I have babies napping. Never figured that bit of inconvenience into the equation. Tank and Reg golf (varsity vs JV), and Tank drives. Sometimes the boys golf in two different locations. More fun.
Here I was, not going to talk about cars again for awhile after all my 'guess what car is in the shop this week' posts.
Were you ever successful at wiggling out of a punishment? Were you raised by the double standard?
**This is appearing long after the fact, so I figured I'd reference Halloween. If I had the time and you all had the patience, I could share something every day. Instead, we must live in this world of delayed posts.**